I love inbound marketing. I really do. Heck, I practice it, promote it and preach about it. But not as a singular effort for lead generation. One of the things that inbound marketing does is grow traffic. In fact, Twitter is one of the top referral sources for this blog.
But just generating traffic does not make for leads. In a B2B complex sale what matters is what you do to gain the opportunity to grow the relationship with people after they arrive. At the point of entry, they are hopeful they made the right choice to click by receiving whatever was promised to them to motivate the visit.
Your content has less than 7 seconds to deliver on their expectations.
A few tips about content format to help catch initial attention include:
- Sub-titles that set the tone for longer articles.
- Written for them, not about you.
- Value proposition close to the top for orientation and assessment of relevance.
- Scan quality that enables the use of the scroll button to confirm initial impressions. This includes things like headers, bulleted lists, and white space.
Now, let's get back to the traffic jam.
I read somewhere (wish I could remember where??) that blogs were receiving more new traffic than returning traffic. The question raised was whether blogs were really all that engaging if people who'd been weren't coming back.
Here are 3 reasons why we may need to look beyond that statistic:
- If someone subscribes to your blog's RSS feed and it pulls full posts into their reader or email, they could be highly engaged with whatever you're talking about and simply not have the time to always visit the blog looking for comments. There are many more spectators online than creators and contributors.
- If your blog is syndicated, people may be reading your posts elsewhere – and commenting there as well. Are you tracking and responding to that activity?
- If the blog post they read prompted them to go to your website to sign up for a content offer (newsletter, white paper download, etc.) you may be engaging them by different means. Do you monitor origination sources for opt ins?
These reasons aside, the main idea is to capitalize on traffic by creating reasons to stay upon arrival and reasons to continue to engage. It doesn't matter which means people choose to engage with you, only that they do. That's the job your content should be doing.
Increased traffic is great – whether to your blog or corporate website or even a specialized niche micro-site. What are you doing to make sure that your traffic isn't just a one-time drive by?
Update 3/23/2010: Hat tip to my wonderfully loyal reader, David Dodd – he's reminded me that Mark Schaefer is where I originally read the statistics I talk about above in this post. (I fixed it in his comment below as well.)
In addition, Jay Baer writes about the topic today in his post 5 Ways to Make Friends with Strangers on Your Blog.